Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Campus: Camden

Research Groups: Musculoskeletal Biology, CPCS (Research Programme)

Dominic Wells is Professor in Translational Medicine.

Professor Dominic (Nic) Wells qualified from Cambridge University as a veterinary surgeon in 1984 together with a first class BA in Applied Biology. After several years in very mixed general practice in Nottinghamshire he attended the University of Wyoming in the USA. Here he studied comparative exercise physiology with antelope and goats as well as writing his PhD on hummingbird flight energetics. Returning to the UK in 1990, he took a temporary lectureship at the Royal Veterinary College in London. In 1992 he was appointed to a full lectureship. In 1995 he moved to the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, now part of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London. He was appointed Professor at Imperial College October 2005. In January 2010 he moved back to the Royal Veterinary College as Professor in Translational Medicine.

Professor Wells’ research interests are muscle physiology, transgenic biology and gene transfer into skeletal muscle, particularly in the context of developing therapies for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). He is also involved in testing other potential therapies for DMD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He has a particular interest in the welfare of genetically modified mice and has been involved in a number of working groups seeking to implement best practice and the 3Rs.

Verhaart IEC, Cappellari O, Tanganyika-de Winter CL, Plomp JJ, Nnorom S, Wells KE, Hildyard JCW, Bull D, Aartsma-Rus A, Wells DJ.
Simvastatin Treatment Does Not Ameliorate Muscle Pathophysiology in a Mouse Model for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. 
J Neuromuscul Dis. 2020 Oct 5. doi: 10.3233/JND-200524. 

Hildyard JCW, Rawson F, Wells DJ, Piercy RJ.
Multiplex in situ hybridization within a single transcript: RNAscope reveals dystrophin mRNA dynamics. 
PLoS One. 2020 Sep 24;15(9):e0239467.

Willmann R, Lee J, Turner C, Nagaraju K, Aartsma-Rus A, Wells DJ, Wagner KR, Csimma C, Straub V, Grounds MD, De Luca A.
Improving translatability of preclinical studies for neuromuscular disorders: lessons from the TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics (TACT). 
Dis Model Mech. 2020 Feb 7;13(2):dmm042903. doi: 10.1242/dmm.042903 

Hildyard, J C W; Finch, A M; Wells, D J.
Identification of qPCR reference genes suitable for normalizing gene expression in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
PLoS One, 14;1:e0211384. 2019

Wells, D J.
What is the level of dystrophin expression required for effective therapy of Duchenne muscular dystrophy?

Gordish-Dressman H, Willmann R, Dalle Pazze L, Kreibich A, van Putten M, Heydemann A, Bogdanik L, Davies K, Demonbruen A, Duan D, Elsey D, Fukada S, Girgenrath S,  Gonzalez P, Grounds M, Nichols A, Partridge T, Passini M, Sanarica F, Schnell F,  Wells DJ,  Yokota T, Young C, Zhong Z, Spurney C, Spencer M,  De Luca A, Nagaraju K and Aartsma-Rus A. "Of Mice and Measures": A Project to Improve How We Advance Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Therapies to the Clinic. J Neuromuscul Dis. doi: 10.3233/JND-180324.  2018.

Betts C, McClorey G, Healicon R, Hammond SM, Manzano R, Muses S, Ball V, Godfrey C, Merritt TM, an Westering T, Wells KE, Wells DJ, Tyler D, Wood MJ. (2018) Cmah-dystrophin deficient mdx mice display an accelerated cardiac phenotype that is improved following peptide-PMO exon skipping treatment. Hum Mol Genet. 2018 Oct 2. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy346.

Hildyard JCW, Taylor-Brown F, Massey C, Wells DJ, Piercy RJ. (2018) Determination of qPCR reference genes suitable for normalizing gene expression in a canine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases. 5(2):177-191

Maffioletti SM, Sarcar S, Henderson ABH, Mannhardt I, Pinton L, Moyle LA, Steele-Stallard H, Cappellari O, Wells KE, Ragazzi M, Wang W, Zammit P, Wells DJ, Eschenhagen T, and Tedesco FS (2018) Three-Dimensional Human iPSC-Derived Artificial Skeletal Muscles Model Muscular Dystrophies and Enable Multilineage Tissue Engineering. Cell Rep. 23(3):899-908.

Kondori NR, Paul P, Robbins JP, Liu K, Hildyard JCW, Wells DJ and de Belleroche JS (2018) Focus on the Role of D-serine and D-amino Acid Oxidase in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Motor Neuron Disease (ALS). Front. Mol. Biosci. 5:8. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2018.00008.

Rahmani Kondori N, Paul P, Robbins J, Birch A, Liu K, Hildyard JCW, Wells DJ, de Belleroche JS (2017) Characterisation of the pathogenic effects of the in vivo expression of an ALS-linked mutation in D-amino acid oxidase: phenotype and loss of spinal cord motor neurons. PLoS ONE 12(12):e0188912.

Terry, RL and Wells DJ. (2016). Histopathologic evaluation of skeletal muscle - with specific reference to mouse models of muscular dystrophy. Curr Protoc Mouse Biol. 6(4):343-363.

Hildyard JCW, Lacey E, Booler H, Hopkinson M, Wells D.J. and S.C. Brown (2016) Transgenic Rescue of the LARGEmyd Mouse: A LARGE Therapeutic Window? PLoS One. 11(7):e0159853.

Hildyard JCW and Wells DJ. (2016) Investigating synthetic oligonucleotide targeting of miR31 in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. PLoS Currents: Muscular Dystrophy 99d88e72634387639707601b237467d7.

Charles JP, Cappellari O, Spence, AJ, Wells DJ and Hutchinson JR (2016) Muscle moment arms and sensitivity analysis of a mouse hindlimb musculoskeletal model. J. Anat. 229(4):514-35.

Charles JP, Cappellari O, Spence AJ, Hutchinson JR and Wells DJ. (2016). Musculoskeletal geometry, muscle architecture and functional specialisations of the mouse hindlimb. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0147669.

López-Salesansky N, Mazlan NH, Whitfield LE, Wells DJ and Burn CC. (2016) Olfactory variation in mouse husbandry and its implications for refinement and standardisation: UK survey of non-animal scents. Lab Anim. 50(5):362-9.

López-Salesansky N, Mazlan NH, Whitfield LE, Wells DJ and Burn CC (2016) A survey of UK routine husbandry procedures that could affect mice via olfaction. UK survey of animal scents. Lab Anim. 50(4):286-95.

Patel MS, Lee J, Baz M, Wells CE, Bloch S, Lewis A, Donaldson AV, Garfield BE, Hopkinson NS, Natanek A, Man WDC, Wells DJ, Baker EH, Polkey MI, Kemp PR (2016) GDF-15 is associated with muscle mass in COPD and promotes muscle wasting in vivo. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle 7(4):436-48.

Lee JY, Lori D, Wells DJ, Kemp PR (2015) FHL1 activates myostatin signalling in skeletal muscle and promotes atrophy. FEBS Open Bio. 5:753-62.

Betts CA, Saleh AF, Carr CA, Muses S, Wells KE, Hammond SM, Godfrey C, McClorey G, Woffindale C, Clarke K, Wells DJ, Gait MJ, Wood MJA (2015) Cardiac Implications Following Targeted Rescue of the Dystrophic Diaphragm in a Mouse Model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Scientific Reports 5:11632.

Godfrey C, Muses S, McClorey G, Wells KE, Coursindel T, Terry RL, Betts C, Hammond S, O'Donovan L, Hildyard J, El Andaloussi S, Gait MJ, Wood MJ, Wells DJ. (2015) How much dystrophin is enough: the physiological consequences of different levels of dystrophin in the mdx mouse. Hum Mol Genet. 24(15):4225-37.

Heslop E, Csimma C, Straub V, Caizergues D, Korinthenberg R, McCall J, Nagaraju K, Kaufmann P, McNeil E, Mendell J, Flanigan K, Wagner K, Hesterlee S, Wells DJ, Bushby K on behalf of TACT (2015) The TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics (TACT): A Model for International, Multidisciplinary Partnership Facilitating Drug Development in Rare Diseases. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 10:49.

Lynn S, Aartsma-Rus A, Furlong P, Goemans N, de Luca A, Mayhew A, McDonald C, Mercuri E, Muntoni F, Pohlschmidt M, Verschuuren J, Voit T, Vroom E, Wells DJ, Straub V. (2015) Measuring Clinical Effectiveness of Medicinal Products for the Treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Neuromuscul Disord. 25(1):96-105.

Aartsma-Rus A, Ferlini A, Goemans N, Pasmooij M, Wells DJ, Bushby K, Vroom E, Balabanov P (2014).Translational and regulatory challenges for exon skipping therapies. Human Gene Therapy 25:885–892.

Terry RL, Kaneb H, Wells DJ. (2014) Poloxomer 188 has a deleterious effect on skeletal muscle function in the mdx mouse. PLoS ONE 9(3): e91221.

Hildyard J, Wells DJ. (2014) Identification and validation of quantitative PCR reference genes suitable for normalising expression in normal and dystrophic cell culture models of myogenesis. PLoS Currents:Muscular Dystrophy.

Mazlan NH, López-Salesansky N, Burn CC, Wells DJ (2014) Mouse identification methods and their welfare issues: a survey of current practice in the UK. Animal Technology and Welfare 13:1-10.

Whitmore C, Booler H, Fernandez-Fuente M, Parr C, Kavishwar M, Ashraf A, Lacey E, Kim J, Terry R, Wells KE, Muntoni F, Wells DJ, Brown SC. (2014) The transgenic expression of LARGE exacerbates the muscle phenotype of dystroglycanopathy mice. Human Molecular Genetics 23:1842-55.

Hawkins P, Gimpel J, Rice ASC, Wells DJ, Latcham J, Heath K, Gardiner M, Wattam T, Lilley E, Jennings M, Hubrecht R. (2013) Report of the 2012 RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group Meeting.  Animal Technology and Welfare April 49-58.

Miller G, Moore C, Terry RL, La Riviere T, Mitchell A, Piggot R, Dear TN, Wells DJ, Winder SJ (2012).Preventing dystroglycan phosphorylation on tyrosine 890 ameliorates the dystrophic phenotype in mdx mouse. HMG. 21(20):4508-20.

Browning R, Mulvana H, Tang M, Hajnal JV, Wells DJ, Eckersley R. (2012) Effect of Microbubble Shell Components on Ultrasound and Microbubble mediated Gene Transfection in vivo. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology. 38:1067–1077.

Muses S, Morgan JE, Wells DJ (2011) Dystrophin gene transfer using the Sleeping Beauty transposon. PLoS Currents: Muscular Dystrophy Dec 22.

Wells DJ (2011) Animal Welfare and the 3Rs in European Biomedical Research. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1245: 14–16.

Soloviev VY, McGinty J, Stuckey DW, Laine R, Wylezinska-Arridge M, Wells DJ, Sardini A, Hajnal JV, French PM, Arridge SR. (2011) Förster resonance energy transfer imaging in vivo with approximated radiative transfer equation. Appl Opt. 50(36):6583-90.

Muses S, Morgan JE, Wells DJ (2011) A Novel Conditionally Immortal Muscle Cell-line for Investigating Therapeutic Strategies in Muscle Cell Research. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24826.

Kaneb HM, Sharp PS, Rahmani-Kondori N, Wells DJ (2011). Metformin treatment has no beneficial effect in a dose-response survival study in the SOD1G93A mouse model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is harmful in females. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24189.

Muntoni F, Torelli S, Wells DJ, Brown SC. (2011) Muscular dystrophies due to glycosylation defects: diagnosis and therapeutic strategies. Current Opinion in Neurology. 24:437–442

Song W, Dyer E, Stuckey DJ, Copeland O, Leung MC, Bayliss C, Messer A, Wilkinson R, Tremoleda JL, Schneider MD, Harding SE, Redwood CS, Clarke K, Nowak K, Monserrat L, Wells D, Marston SB. (2011) Molecular mechanism of the Glu99lys mutation in cardiac actin (ACTC gene) that causes apical hypertrophy in man and mouse. J Biol Chem. 286(31):27582-93.

Cirak S, Arechavala-Gomeza V, Guglieri M, Feng L, Torelli S, Anthony K, Abbs S, Garralda ME, Wells DJ, Dickson G, Wood MJA, Wilton SD, Straub V, Shrewsbury S, Sewry C, Morgan JE, Bushby K, Muntoni F. (2011) Systemic administration of the morpholino antisense oligomer AVI-4658 induces exon skipping and dystrophin expression in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Lancet 378(9791):595-605.

Browning R, Mulvana H, Tang, Hajnal J, Wells DJ and Eckersley R. (2011) Influence of needle gauge on in vivo ultrasound and microbubble mediated gene transfection. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology 37(9):1531-7.

McGinty J, Stuckey DW, Soloviev VY, Laine R, Wylezinska-Arridge M, Wells DJ, Arridge SR, French PMW, Hajnal JV, Sardini A. (2011) In vivo fluorescence lifetime tomography of a FRET probe expressed in mouse. Biomed Opt Express. 2(7):1907-17.

Malerba A, Graham I, Sharp P, Popplewell L, Foster K, Wells DJ, Dickson, G. (2011) Chronic administration of low and high doses of phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer ameliorates the dystrophic phenotype in mdx mice. Mol Ther 19(2):345-54.

Sharp, P, Bye-A-Jee H, Wells DJ. (2011) Physiological characterization of muscle strength with variable levels of dystrophin restoration in dystrophic mdx mice following local antisense therapy. Mol Ther 19(1):165-71.

Wells DJ. (2011) Gene doping. Chapter 11, pp160-172, in Drugs in Sport, 5th edition. Edited by Mottram D. Routledge.

Brockington M, Torelli S, Sharp P, Liu K, Cirak S, Brown SC, Wells DJ, Muntoni, F. (2010) Transgenic overexpression of LARGE induces alpha-dystroglycan hyperlycosylation in skeletal and cardiac muscle: Implications for Therapeutic Interventions in Dystroglycanopathies. PLos One Dec 28;5(12):e14434

Song, W, Dyer, E, Stuckey, D, Leung, M-C, Memo, M, Mansfield, C, Ferenczi, M, Liu, K, Redwood, C, Nowak, K, Harding, S, Clarke, K, Wells, DJ, Marston S. (2010) Investigation of a transgenic mouse model of familial dilated cardiomyopathy. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 49(3):380-389.

van der Weerd, L., Akbar, MT, Badin, RA, Valentim, LM, Wells, DJ, Latchman, DS, Gadian, GD, Lythgoe, MF, de Belleroche, JS. (2010) Overexpression of Heat Shock Protein 27 reduces cortical damage in cerebral ischemia. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism 30:849-56.

Wells, D.J. (2010) Electroporation and Ultrasound enhanced non-viral gene delivery in vitro and in vivo. Cell Biology and Toxicology 26(1):21-8.

Wells DJ. (2010) Genetically modified animals and pharmacological research.
Handb Exp Pharmacol. 199:213-26.

Kinali M, Arechavala-Gomeza V, Feng L, Cirak S, Hunt D, Adkin C, Guglieri M, Ashton E, Abbs S, Nihoyannopoulos P, Garralda ME, Rutherford M, McCulley C, Popplewell L, Graham IR, Dickson G, Wood MJ, Wells DJ, Wilton SD, Kole R, Straub V, Bushby K, Sewry C, Morgan JE, Muntoni F (2009) Local restoration of dystrophin expression with the morpholino oligomer AVI-4658 in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: a single-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation, proof-of-concept study. Lancet Neurol. 8(10):918-28.

Alter, J., Sennoga, C.A., Lopes, D., Eckserley, R.J., Wells, D.J. (2009) Microbubble stability is a major determinant of the efficiency of ultrasound and microbubble mediated in vivo gene transfer. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology 35(6):976-84.

Rayner, K., Sun J., Chen Y.X., McNulty, M., Simard, T., Zhao, X., Wells, D.J., de Belleroche, J., O’Brien, E.R. (2009). Heat Shock Protein 27 Protects Against Atherogenesis via an Estrogen-Dependent Mechanism: Role of Selective Estrogen Receptor Beta Modulation. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 29(11):1751-6.

Dai T, Patel-Chamberlin M, Natarajan R, Todorov I, Ma J, LaPage J, Phillips L, Nast CC, Becerra D, Chuang P, Tong L, de Belleroche J, Wells DJ, Wang Y, and SG Adler (2009). Heat shock protein 27 overexpression mitigates cytokine-induced islet apoptosis and streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Endocrinology 150:3031-9.

Chen, SWC, Kim, M, Kim, M, Song, JH, Park, SW, Wells, D, de Belleroche, J, D’Agati, VD and Lee, HT (2009) Mice that overexpress human heat shock protein 27 have increased renal injury following ischemia reperfusion. Kidney Int. 75(5):499-510.

Wells KE, McMahon J, Foster H, Ferrer A, Wells DJ. (2008) Gene delivery to dystrophic muscle. Methods Mol Biol. 423:421-31.

Palazzoli, F., Carnus, E., Wells, D.J., and Y. Bigot (2008) Sustained transgene expression using non-viral enzymatic systems for stable chromosomal integration. Current Gene Therapy 8(5):367-90.

Foster, H, Sharp, P, Trollet, C, Athanasopoulos, T, Graham, I, Foster, K, Wells, DJ & Dickson, G. (2008). Codon optimisation of microdystrophin improves expression and physiological outcome in dystrophic mdx mice following AAV2/8 gene transfer. Mol Ther. 16(11):1825-32.

Rayner, K., Chen, Y-X., McNulty, M., Simard, T., Zhao, X., Wells, D.J., de Belleroche, J., O’Brien, E.R. (2008). Extracellular Release of the Atheroprotective Heat Shock Protein 27 Is Mediated by Estrogen and Competitively Inhibits acLDL Binding to Scavenger Receptor-A. Circ Res. 103:133-141.

Wells, D.J. (2008). Gene doping: the hype and the reality. Br. J. Pharmacol. 154:623-31.

Sharp, P.S., Akbar, T., Bouri, S., Senda, A., Joshi, K., Chen, H-J., Latchman, D.S., Wells, D.J. and de Belleroche, J. (2008). Protective effects of heat shock protein 27 in a model of ALS occur in the early stages of disease progression. Neurobiol Dis. 30(1):42-55.

Top of page